Cholera and starvation continue in Zimbabwe

Another day in the life of Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe. The neighboring government in South Africa can continue to ignore the problem, but now the problem is spilling even more into South Africa. The Observer:

In a separate report, the World Health Organization said that 1,518 people had died of cholera, with 26,497 cases recorded, since the start of the outbreak in August. The percentage of cholera patients dying from the disease rose to 5.7% last week, from 4% at the beginning of the month. Normally, only 1% of patients die in large outbreaks.

Paul Garwood, a WHO spokesman, said the outbreak was not under control and that neighbouring countries such as South Africa and Botswana, where the disease has also been reported, should increase their disease monitoring surveys and preparedness.

It’s bad enough when adults are starving but the problem, as always, is even worse for the children.

The number of acute child malnutrition cases has risen by almost two-thirds in the past year, the report from the UK-based agency said in its appeal to world donors for help.

“There is no excuse for failing to provide this food,” program director Lynn Walker said. “The innocent people of Zimbabwe should not be made to suffer for a political situation that is out of their control.”

Five million Zimbabweans — out of a population of about 12 million — are in need of food aid now, the report said. The group is appealing for 18,000 tons of food for next month.

“We have already been forced to reduce the rations of emergency food we are delivering because there isn’t enough to go around,” the report said. “If, as we fear, the food aid pipeline into Zimbabwe begins to fail in the new year the millions of people who rely on emergency food aid will suffer.”


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